Sales soar at Bentley

Posted on 3 Jan 2012

The automotive industry built upon its solid growth today with UK-based Bentley announcing that its global sales figures for 2011 were up 37% on the previous year.

The rise reversed a trend that has seen the company make losses for two years running, although it declined to release detailed full-year profit figures.

The year on year rise was largely accounted for by a massive surge in demand from the American and Chinese markets, which represented 57% of the company’s worldwide sales.

In its annual report, Bentley, who employ almost 4,000 people at its site in Crewe, highlighted the importance of the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) markets to its recent sales results. The company’s presence in the Chinese marketplace virtually doubled as it sold 1,839 vehicles during 2011, surpassing the previous year’s sales record before the end of July.

European sales rebounded to 1,187, an increase of 53% that was bolstered by strong demand in Germany where sales increased by 88%.

Unfortunately, the UK market proved to be an area of disappointment for the company over the past 12 months, sales increasing by only 5%. Sales accelerated as the year progressed, the company selling 1,059 cars over the course of December. The figure means that Bentley, owned by Volkswagen, experienced its best month since the recession and its second highest calendar month on record during December.

“It has been a tremendously good year for Bentley,” said Bentley’s chairman and chief executive, Wolfgang Dürheimer. “It has been particularly pleasing to see renewed interest in Bentley in established as well as and new and emerging markets, all of which is contributing to a positive financial result for 2011.”

Sales were boosted by the performance of new models, such as the Continental GT coupe and Mulsanne. Mr Dürheimer commented that the company is continuing investment in new vehicles in order to boost sales again in 2012.

“We want that success to continue,” he said “and with a new Continental V8 set to attract new customers in 2012, have ambitious but realistic plans which reflect global economic conditions as much as our new product line up.”

The announcement follows a trend in the industry of upwardly rising sales and sector growth of 10.6% over the past year. With automotive companies investing heavily in British factories, Jaguar Land Rover announcing only today that it plans to create 1,500 jobs and expand its Merseyside plant, firms are boosting capacity in order to meet growing demand.

Financial experts are predicting that the UK is well placed to benefit from the increased demand and that the automotive sector could be an area of strong growth within the UK for the next decade.